so i have finally finished my dog named Shadow after my own little puppy who i used as reference and Oliver my little boy who is modelled after me. I have some pretty good facial deformations with blendshapes (remember to change you load order of your inputs so your blendshapes work when you move your rig). I have also pretty much finished constructing my scene which is looking nice. I am rendering with Maya software and rendered out a test camera movement which will be in the end shot of the animation. it took roughly 46 seconds to render each from which is a little long for not having any animation and this is because I didnt turn the drawing visibility off for the exterior when inside which was my fault. I re rendered with exterior off and it rendered much faster at about 20 seconds a frame.
because i am using maya fur i and maya software i have to use spotlights with fur shading attributes to enable shadowing of the fur, due to this, i have to set up several three point lighting systems with one spotlight shadowing the fur as the primary light and the other two to simulate global illumination which isnt enabled by maya software (i did try mental ray for the rendered but took close to 3 minutes to render a frame at 720 so it was scrapped).
test render of scene: http://youtu.be/gE5C1jZ-mqk
facial test of boy: http://youtu.be/T1RJSbnp8Ds
facial test of dog: http://youtu.be/dv8nMOzVYg4